Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Halal meningitis vaccine available worldwide

For many years, the fully Halal meningitis vaccine was a dream for the Muslim world but now it is a reality. The long waited Halal meningitis vaccine named ‘Menveo’ is now available worldwide. Many Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia have approved it and many have instructed to replace the previously used one with this Halal vaccine.
According to the available information meningitis vaccine earlier produced, contained materials of bovine or porcine origin. Due to this reason Muslims had been complaining against those vaccines and urging for producing completely Halal vaccine from Halal ingredients. Due to this demand from the Muslim world an ‘apparently Halal’ vaccine was produced named Mencevax. It is alleged that Mencevex even used porcine ingredients at manufacturing stage but the finished product could be made porcine free with the blessings of latest scientific technologies. Nevertheless, to say that Bangladesh is still using this ‘apparently Halal’ vaccine though completely Halal vaccine is available in the market. However, the government is under pressure to use Halal vaccine especially for the hajj pilgrims.
Menveo vaccine is a conjugate vaccine but the previous one was polysaccharide vaccine that has lots of limitations. It is not effective for infants; it cannot immune memory and cannot ensure prolonged duration of protection. But Menveo vaccine is very much effective for the aforementioned conditions. It not only protects but also prevents the carrier of the germs to spread, among others. The Halal vaccine has a boosting effect, and in repeated use it doesn’t lose power rather intensifies it.
Therefore, saving life is of foremost important for the host country. Besides, the hajis might not be infected and become a carrier of such communicable diseases is also a great concern. And when there is an issue for haram and Halal, the Muslims will accept the Halal one- no doubt. So, it is expected that the government will also take necessary steps to provide Halal conjugate vaccine for this year’s hajj pilgrims.No other mass gathering can compare, either in scale or in regularity. Communicable disease outbreaks of various infectious diseases have been reported repeatedly during and following the hajj. Therefore, to protect the pilgrims from communicable diseases the Saudi government has made it mandatory for the pilgrims to take meningitis vaccine before arriving at the holy place. During Hajj, carrier rates for meningococcal disease rise to a level as high as 80% due to intense overcrowding, high humidity and dense air pollution . It should also be mentioned here that the meningitis belt of Sub-saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east has the highest rates of the disease.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Malaysia-East Java entrepreneurs urged to develop Halal industry

Malaysian Halal products entrepreneurs and their counterparts in East Java have huge potential in developing the Halal industry by using high-technology concepts.
Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) Chairman Tan Sri Syed Jalaludin Syed Salim said the agency is ready to assist such endeavour to attain win-win synergies.
HDC can bring Halal product entrepreneurs from Malaysia on a special visit to East Java to introduce the country's Halal industry concept following the huge interest shown by entrepreneurs in East Java.
"They want to develop industrial park, and if we can offer assistance to them, this is better.
HDC can introduce the Halal park concept and this will be good joint venture between Malaysia and Indonesia," he told Bernama.
Syed Jalaludin was among the Malaysia small and medium enterprise (SME) delegation under the guidance of SME Corp Malaysia and HDC on a two-day visit to Surabaya.
The visit was led by Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed aimed at strengthening the bilateral trade and investment with entrepreneurs in Surabaya and East Java.
The HDC Chairman said Malaysia should focus on making more business visits to Asean countries such as Indonesia as the country not only has a huge market but its entrepreneurs want to collaborate with Malaysian businesses.
"Indonesia has a large population, huge market, many resources while Malaysia has high technology...this is where we can work together.
"We also have more intellectual properties, so we can attain win-win synergies," he said.
Syed Jalaludin believed that the collaboration can achieve success as expected and it can start in East Java.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

U.S.A: More Food Producers Pursue Halal Certification

There are nearly 100 Halal restaurants around Seattle, but a spokesperson for the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) says interest in Halal certification is now percolating in U.S. cities without significant Muslim populations
"What we are hearing overwhelmingly is that this market is so huge, and people are just beginning to appreciate the opportunities," says IFANCA development director Asma Ahad, who recently addressed a meeting of corporate chefs and food scientists.
Ahad cited Cabot Creamery Cooperative, a Vermont-based dairy best known for its cheddars, as an example of a company which proactively pursued Halal certification. Partly in response to projections showing American Muslims would outnumber American Jews by 2010, Cabot obtained its certification in 2003.
"They can't exactly say what Halal contributed, but they've seen a double-digit increase in sales since then," Ahad says.
There are nine million Muslims in the U.S., and IFANCA estimates they annually spend $20 billion on food. Globally, Halal accounts for 16 percent of food purchases, or $1.2 trillion in sales.
Prisons, hospitals and military bases are among the top buyers of Halal products in the U.S.
"It's a newer area, but it's grown a lot, and it's still growing," Ahad says.
Growth in the Halal sector creates a domino effect, since the increased availability of Halal ingredients allows food producers to reformulate their recipes. A decade ago, producers who leaned heavily on alcoholic flavouring agents had little hope of ever meeting Halal requirements. But laboratories have since manufactured alcohol-free alternatives and introduced transgenic enzymes that can stand in for the pork enzymes popular with cheese makers.
According to Ahad, food producers intent on winning Halal certification still have to carefully monitor cross-contamination risks. She adds that vigilance is appealing to consumers who worry about food safety. Halal, like kosher, is associated with added inspection and cleanliness.
"It's different than kosher, though, because kosher's already been developed," Ahad says of the market potential. "Halal is such a growth area."

Muslim Growth Is Good For Muslim Businesses, Marketing

Muslim consumers are growing in the U.S. and they have money to spend. Now, businesses are starting to take notice.
"The emerging American Muslim market is perhaps the new area that a lot of businesses ... are starting to look into," said Rafi-uddin Shikoh, Managing Director and Founder of DinarStandard, a marketing research firm specializing in the emerging Muslim market.
Shikoh said his New York-based firm conducted research in 2011 on the Muslim marketplace and found that, while Muslims are just as hard to categorize as other groups, there are plenty of opportunities for different industries -- food, retail and finance -- to reach them.
With an estimated disposable income of between $107 billion and $124 billion, Muslim Americans are realizing they can use their size to influence the market, he said. If a business offers Halal food products, for example, Muslim consumers will pick that business over the others. "There are these unique things that businesses are not realizing but there's an opportunity for that," he said at a recent forum sponsored by the American Islamic Congress.
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey last year on Muslim Americans and estimated a population of about 2.8 million Muslims in the U.S., and they're growing thanks in part to a higher fertility rate than other Americans.
While the exact number of American Muslims has been disputed, the general consensus in the business world is that the majority of the growing Muslim consumers are young, middle class and misunderstood. Pew also found that U.S. Muslims (14 percent) roughly mirror the general population (16 percent) on the percentage of households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more.
Businesses now want to connect with this new market, said Sarab Al-Jijakli, account director at Ogilvy Noor, a boutique subsidiary of the Ogilvy & Mather global ad agency, which specializes in the emerging Muslim marketplace.
"Many brands are playing catch-up," Al-Jijakli said at the forum.
Arsalan Iftikhar, a contributing editor for Islamica magazine and author of "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era," said the American Muslim growth trend line is positive and he is glad American businesses are seeing the potential of selling products to a "previously untapped minority population."
"I think it is quite heartening that our nation's corporate and business leaders are beginning to notice our community as an up-and-coming minority group within America today," he said.
The racially and ethnically diverse Muslim population in the U.S. is concerned about the same issues as everyone else, like jobs, the economy and health care, said John Pinna, the AIC's director of government and international relations. But, like other immigrant groups, they're also looking for ways to participate in society.
And in America, that often means shopping.
"Now we're looking for products, we're looking to participate in the democratic process and we're this young population that's hungry to be noticed," said Pinna, an Afghan-American Muslim.
"The American Muslim community isn't really extraordinary at all," he said. "It's just that it's now starting to be noticed."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PAKISTAN: Pak food brands set to make UAE foray

Pakistan’s food industry is poised to lead in the UAE 
market as major brands are expected to make forays into the country this year, Khaleej Times has learnt. Pakistani food companies made inroads to the UAE market at the Gulfood exhibition in February. The major groups held fruitful meetings at the exhibition and they will start launching their products from June onward, according to industry insiders. K&N’s Foods (private) Limited, a leading name in poultry and meat products in Pakistan, is expected to market its products in the UAE by June. Brands in 
edible oil like Sufi Cooking Oil and Habib Oil, leading herbal trademark Qarshi and confectionery products leader Hilal, among others are also planning to enter the UAE food market this year.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New analysis highlights importance of limiting industrial livestock production to improve personal and environmental health.

Global meat production and consumption have increased rapidly in recent decades, with harmful effects on the environment and public health as well as on the economy, according to research done by Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project for Vital Signs Online. Worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last 10 years. Meanwhile, industrial countries are consuming growing amounts of meat, nearly double the quantity than in developing countries.
"Much of the vigorous growth in meat production is due to the rise of industrial animal agriculture, or factory farming," said Danielle Nierenberg, Worldwatch senior researcher and director of Nourishing the Planet. "Factory farms pollute the environment through the heavy use of inputs such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers used for feed production.
Large-scale meat production also has serious implications for the world's climate. Animal waste releases methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively. "The world's supersized appetite for meat is among the biggest reasons greenhouse gas emissions are still growing rapidly," said Worldwatch President Robert Engelman. "Yet properly managed and scaled meat production ----like the kind pursued by small-scale pastoralists on dry grasslands----could actually sequester carbon dioxide. It's largely a matter of rethinking meat at both ends of the production-consumption trail."
Dirty, crowded conditions on factory farms can propagate sickness and disease among the animals, including swine influenza (H1N1), avian influenza (H5N1), foot-and-mouth disease, and mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). These diseases not only translate into enormous economic losses each year ----the United Kingdom alone spent 18 to 25 billion dollars in a three-year period to combat foot-and-mouth disease----but they also lead to human infections.
Mass quantities of antibiotics are used on livestock to reduce the impact of disease, contributing to antibiotic resistance in animals and humans alike. Worldwide, 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were used on livestock and poultry, compared to only 20 percent used for human illnesses. Antibiotics that are present in animal waste leach into the environment and contaminate water and food crops, posing a serious threat to public health.
The amount of meat in people's diets has an impact on human health as well. Eaten in moderation, meat is a good source of protein and of important vitamins and nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamins B3, B6, and B12. But a diet high in red and processed meats can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Eating organic, pasture-raised livestock can alleviate chronic health problems and improve the environment. Grass-fed beef contains less fat and more nutrients than its factory-farmed counterpart and reduces the risk of disease and exposure to toxic chemicals. Well-managed pasture systems can improve carbon sequestration, reducing the impact of livestock on the planet. And the use of fewer energy-intensive inputs conserves soil, reduces pollution and erosion, and preserves biodiversity.  
"Pastoral farming systems, especially in developing countries, improve food security and sustain the livelihoods of millions of farmers worldwide," said Nierenberg. "Eating less meat and supporting pastoralist communities at every level is essential to combat the destructive trend of factory farms."
Further Highlights from the Research:
·         Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry, beef, and mutton.
·         Poultry production is the fastest growing meat sector, increasing 4.7 percent in 2010 to 98 million tons.
·         Worldwide, per capita meat consumption increased from 41.3 kilograms in 2009 to 41.9 kilograms in 2010. People In the developing world eat 32 kilograms of meat a year on average, compared to 80 kilograms per person in the industrial world.
·         Of the 880 million rural poor people living on less than $1 per day, 70 percent are partially or completely dependent on livestock for their livelihoods and food security.
·         Demand for livestock products will nearly double in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, from 200 kilocalories per person per day in 2000 to some 400 kilocalories in 2050.
·         Raising livestock accounts for roughly 23 percent of all global water use in agriculture, equivalent to 1.15 liters of water per person per day.
·         Livestock account for an estimated 18 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, producing 40 percent of the world's methane and 65 percent of the world's nitrous oxide.
·         Seventy-five percent of the antibiotics used on livestock are not absorbed by the animals and are excreted in waste, posing a serious risk to public health.
·         An estimated 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption to the level of the group that ate the least.
·         Eating organic, pasture-raised animals can be healthier and environmentally beneficial compared to industrial feedlot systems.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

World Halal Forum 2012 - Cultivating a Universal Halal Lifestyle

The 7th World Halal Forum (WHF) started on 2 April with Deputy Prime Minister, YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin officially launching the annual forum at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The two-day forum attracted the participation of 720 delegates and over 35 speakers. With participants and speakers from over 36 countries, WHF 2012 provides a stirring platform for a stimulating discussion on the USD800 billion worth Halal industry. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin, in his keynote address, praised the World Halal Forum for its efforts in emphasizing on a universal appeal on Halal principles and for leveraging on creative channels like the arts, media and entertainment in spreading good values. Tan Sri Muhyiddin also stated that the new generation of Muslim youths are asking for more value out of Halal and not just mere compliance to its standards. Established in 2006, WHF has since become part of the Malaysian government's 15-year plan to become the world's Halal hub. With this year's theme "INSPIRE, INNOVATE, INVEST", WHF 2012 goes beyond its usual exploration of business perspectives and reached out towards the grassroots with its primary focus on consumer issues, as well as helping the industry's understanding on its beneficial values, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

UNITED KINGDOM: And not a woggle in sight - the new Scout uniform for Muslim girls

The Scouts have designed a special uniform for Muslim girls to cater for their growing female membership. A hoodie dress and a T-shirt dress which ‘encapsulate the adventurous spirit of Scouting’ are now available to attract recruits from Muslim families. It is hoped that the new uniforms will allow the movement to build on its growing popularity with girls. Around one in six of the 400,000 UK Scouts is a girl.